A Complete Guide to Local SEO Success Beyond Just Keyword Rankings

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By tom.baldridge

61% of consumers searching online for local businesses visit or call the business within 24 hours.

Clearly, dominating local SEO is critical for driving new customers and revenue.

But too often, local SEO is treated as a narrow pursuit of trying to rank #1 for a handful of competitive keywords. This keyword-first assumption is outdated and ineffective.

Thriving with local SEO today requires a more comprehensive and nuanced approach focused on holistically engaging and connecting with local customers.

Follow this complete guide to modern local SEO success that goes beyond superficial keyword rankings.

Craft an Engaging Introduction Using Real-World Stats

Local SEO is about more than keywords. But don’t just take our word for it.

According to data from BrightLocal, at least one rating or review makes consumers 105% more likely to choose you over competitors.

Clearly reviews and reputation are more important than any single keyword ranking. This is the mindset required to win local customers today.

With more people than ever searching for local businesses online, now is the time to take a fresh look at your approach to local SEO.

Completely Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is ground zero for local SEO. Given Google’s dominance in local search, GMB commands priority:

![Fully optimized GMB listing example]

Start by ensuring your complete business information is listed properly – address, phone number, opening hours, etc.

Add photos of your business exterior, interior, products, and staff. Provide detailed descriptions of amenities and services offered for enhanced snippets.

Proactively collect and publish customer reviews. Aim for 10-30 strong positive reviews. Monitor and professionally respond to any critiques.

Check your GMB profile monthly to confirm information remains accurate and完consistent across the web. Fix any discrepancies in citations.

A fully optimized GMB presence boosts website clicks and local pack visibility.

Build Local Links Through Directory Citations

Citations from locally relevant directories help build trust and authority for search engines.

Start by compiling a list of citation opportunities, including:

  • Local chamber of commerce site
  • Regional business journals
  • City-specific sites like Denver.org
  • Relevant local publications
  • Local subreddit groups

Claim and optimize your listings on these directories one by one. Be 100% consistent with business name, address and phone number (NAP) across sites.

![Local citation example]

Include your website URL wherever possible. Monitor and update citations monthly.

Encourage Customer Reviews

Customer reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp make or break local decisions. Yet only 37% of businesses have asked for reviews according to BrightLocal.

Proactively request customers leave honest feedback:

  • Add review prompts on your website, email receipts and signage.
  • Highlight sites you care about most – don’t spread efforts thin.
  • Make leaving a review extremely quick and frictionless.
  • Follow up with happy customers personally via email or SMS.
  • Respond professionally to demonstrate you value all feedback.

Positive sentiment and review volume drives new local business. Don’t leave this impact to chance.

Create Tailored Local Landing Pages

Build dedicated localized landing pages targeting key regional keywords and searches.

For example, a Denver landscaping company could have pages targeting terms like:

  • “Denver landscaping company”
  • “Landscape maintenance Denver”
  • “Yard care services Aurora CO”

![Local landing page example]

Include the city name, optimize content for the keyword, and include local schema markup.

Do this for the highest-value geographic regions you serve to improve conversion potential.

Produce Locally-Focused Content

Blogging and content marketing that highlights community news, partners, and events builds local awareness and affinity.

Share insider local knowledge through posts like:

  • Local business spotlights
  • Roundups of family-friendly attractions
  • Guides to seasonal activities
  • Interviews with long-time residents
  • Trends drawn from local data

This locally-relevant content can earn natural links, embeds and social shares.

Maintain Active Local Social Media

Social media provides a direct channel to engage with local followers in real-time.

  • Promote local events, deals, and news relevant to residents.
  • Share user-generated content and testimonials from local customers.
  • Spotlight local charities, sports teams, and community groups you support.
  • Post regularly – statuses, images, videos, stories.
  • Monitor mentions and respond quickly.

Being recognized as an authentic local brand on social platforms extends awareness and affinity.

Track Local SEO Metrics Not Just Rankings

For local SEO success, prioritize metrics like:

  • Increased organic traffic from target regions
  • Higher regional conversions and sales
  • Google/Facebook reviews sentiment and volume
  • Direct phone calls from local listings
  • Improved local pack rankings for branded searches

These better indicate deeper local customer engagement than any single keyword ranking.

Maintain Efforts Through Regular Optimization

Local SEO requires continual refinement as algorithms, platforms, and trends evolve:

  • Address Google algorithm updates reshaping local results.
  • Test emerging tools like Google Business Profiles.
  • Identify and claim new influential local review sites.
  • Develop partnerships with local influencers and organizations.
  • Monitor new competitor activity and local search behavior in your category.

Agility and creativity will allow you to stay ahead of changes in local search.

Key Takeaways for Local Search Dominance

  • Optimize Google My Business before all other efforts.
  • Build local credibility through citations, reviews and community involvement.
  • Create tailored, locally-optimized web pages and content.
  • Track local KPIs beyond rankings to gauge engagement.
  • Maintain efforts through constant local search learning.

Thriving in local SEO today means going beyond keywords. By focusing on holistically engaging customers, your local business will convert and connect with more customers in your market.

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